No Means Yes: John Cornyn's NRSC Gave $760K In Support of Todd Akin After Disavowing Him

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After John Cornyn pledged to withhold money from Todd “Shut That Whole Thing Down” Akin's Missouri Senate campaign on the heels of his scientifically inaccurate and deeply offensive comments about “legitimate rape,” guess what?!

Cornyn and the NRSC dumped $760,000 into the Missouri GOP's coffers to fund a two-day ad-blitz in support of Akin.

The money came after the last pre-election FEC reporting deadline. It had been assumed that the 11th-hour cash infusion came from the NRSC; campaign finance reports filed late last week make clear that indeed the Republicans stood by their “legitimate rape” man.

From The Hill:

In the final days of the race, the NRSC tried to push Akin over the top, transferring $360,000 to the Missouri GOP on Nov. 1, and another $400,000 on Nov. 2, according to FEC documents released late Thursday night.

And the Missouri GOP spent nearly that much, $756,000 on an ad buy on Oct. 30 and Nov. 1 for “W. Todd Akin,” with the firm Akin used to do his media buying.

Back in August, Cornyn claimed that he explicitly told Akin that no NRSC money would be forthcoming after his “legitimate rape” comments. That wasn't a surprising decision given the public outcry over Akin's remarks, in which he claimed that women could not get pregnant from so-called legitimate rape because the female body can just “shut it down.”

Of course, that didn't stop an offensive line's worth of Republicans from making their own insensitive and/or inaccurate rape comments in the months leading up to the election. Later in the cycle, when Republican Richard Mourdock of Indiana said that rape pregnancies were a gift from God, Cornyn not only stood by Mourdock, he defended him.

In case you missed it, Akin lost by 15 to Senator Claire McCaskill, and Mourdock handed an upset win to Democrat Joe Donnelly. Thanks, guys!

At the time of the pro-Akin NRSC-funded TV blitz, the Republican committee refused to comment on whether or not they were the source of the funds for the buy. However, given the size of the buy and mid-October fundraising reports from Akin and the Missouri GOP, it was pretty darn likely that Cornyn's committee was behind the late cash. Now we know for sure.

Most amusingly, Akin's staff is blaming Cornyn and the NRSC for the loss due to the public drubbing they gave the candidate. From TPM:

“The NRSC's actions reflected its incompetent leadership,” [campaign manager Rick]Tyler told TPM Friday. “It's hard to say if Akin could have won given how poorly the Republicans performed nationally. But there can be no question that their actions and comments kept the campaign from recovering after a misstep.”

“By abandoning Akin and choosing to be actively destructive, the NRSC and [Karl] Rove hurt every Republican on the ballot in Missouri,” he said. “McCaskill's final television ad using party leadership's statements against Akin was devastating.”

Uhh, actually what was devastating to Akin was his personal beliefs about rape and pseudo-knowledge of female anatomy, which he felt the need to air on national television, am I right?

The DailyKos morning elections digest makes the salient point that this was a big strategic blunder on the part of Cornyn and the NRSC. At that late stage in the game, that money could have gone further in Montana or North Dakota, two other Democratic wins, or been banked for 2014, when Democrats have a challenging slate of seats to defend.  

Additionally, Cornyn's public rebuke of Akin and later, private funding of his campaign should give other Republican Senate candidates pause about how trustworthy our soon-to-be-senior-senator is when it comes to the big bucks and major strategic decisions.

So once again, our hats are off to the feckless NRSC leadership of John Cornyn, who probably did as much to help grow the Democratic majority in the US Senate as any member of the blue team. Keep up the good work, Big John!

About Author

Katherine Haenschen

Katherine Haenschen is a PhD candidate at the University of Texas, where she studies political participation on digital media. She has previously managed successful candidate, issue, voter registration, and GOTV campaigns in Austin. In addition to serving as the president of Austin Young Democrats, she is also UCONN's #1 fan in Texas.

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